Beakanyang trains on political participation

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rights advocacy organisation Beakanyang Kafo has trained and sensitised over one hundred women in the Upper and Central River Regions on the importance of political participation.

The activities were held in the two regions’ administrative capitals Basse and Janjangbureh in partnership with International Republican Institute with funding from the United States Embassy in Banjul.

The organisation’s executive director Nfamara Jawneh said the objective was to promote and encourage more women participation in politics, especially in the local government elections that will commence tomorrow.

Gambians will go to the pools tomorrow to elect their councilors who will represent them in local area councils which will be followed by Councils’ chairman elections and Mayors. The trainings also seek to instill aptitudes in women to make informed choices and decisions during elections and to increase public awareness on women contribution in politics.

Mr. Jawneh said the campaign targets to encourage more female candidates to contest in the local government elections either as councilors, chairpersons or mayors/mayoresses. “Women constitute the majority of Gambian electorates but yet they only occupy very few elective offices.”

Lady Councilor of Basse Aja Jonfolo Jabby commended Beakanyang and partners for enlightening them on their role in the country’s democratisation process and appealed for more support and solidarity from women themselves.  She said the training in Basse was timely and relevant to the empowerment of women in the region.

She complained the low level of education, lack of resources and solidarity among women as some of the major factors hindering their effective participation in politics. “As women, we must support one another to promote our agenda especially at council and even National Assembly levels,” she said.

Upper River Region Deputy Governor Omar Sey emphasised the need for parents to send their daughters to school and allow them to complete their education for them to contest in future elections. “Let us start with Ward Committees and make sure you are well represented and even in the village development committees,” he held.

Fanding Barrow, a board member of Beakanyang said they want to see that more women are empowered and confident to participate in the local elections, saying since they cannot be intimidated; women will become agents of change to counter the misconceptions.

“We also want to ensure that women have increased understanding of the roles and responsibilities of elected officials. At the same time, we want women to be inspired to participate in political processes especially in local government elections while having a better understanding of the election cycle and the election process,” he noted.

At Janjangbureh, Central River Region Deputy Governor Ansumana Keita observed that there couldn’t be any sustainable development without the active participation of women. He urged them to share the knowledge acquired from the gathering with their communities and parties.

Janjangbureh Lady Councilor Kumba Dansira called for more sensitisations to encourage women to actively participate in politics. She hailed Beakanyang for reaching out to rural women for such a timely and important engagement. 

Author: Rose Zahra Gomez